The ACOS Alliance (A Culture Of Safety Alliance) is a unique global coalition of 150+ news organizations, journalist associations and press freedom NGOs working together to champion safe and responsible journalism practices.
The Alliance’s mission is to embed a culture of safety within journalism so that independent media and journalists globally can play their essential role in upholding democracy.
We believe that safety is a prerequisite for a strong, independent media - the backbone of democracy. We focus on the safety of freelance and local journalists because they play an essential role within newsgathering and are the most vulnerable in a profession that is increasingly at risk of violence, threats and harassment.
2. Practical Safety Solutions
ACOS leverages the expertise and resources of its stakeholders to implement practical initiatives that help newsrooms and journalists embed a culture of safety within their everyday working practices and meet the basic standards outlined in the Freelance Journalist Safety Principles.
Our initiatives aim to level up the safety playing field, by providing training and educational opportunities free of charge to freelancers, local journalists and under-resourced newsrooms, most of them tailored to regional needs and specific needs.
During the last three years, 44 safety initiatives have benefited nearly 1,600 journalists and editors in all regions of the world.
Safety Training Courses for freelance and local journalists
Safety Workshops for Editors
One to one Safety Clinics
Online Safety Resources
Insurance for freelance and local journalists
3. Advocacy and News Industry Engagement
The Alliance is a leading voice in journalism safety, advocating for safety best practice within the newsgathering industry and raising awareness of the Freelance Journalist Safety Principles among news managers and journalists.
We invest in global safety coalitions that respond to journalist safety needs such as the Summit For Democracy Media Freedom Cohort, the Coalition Against Online Violence (CAOV) and the Safety of Journalists Coalition, and build partnerships with networks, such as IFEX and the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD) to expand our reach into new and underrepresented regions.
We work with partners to improve the standards and quality of safety training for journalists through initiatives such as the Industry Standard for Safety Training (ISST).
1. Coordination and Collaboration
As a unique, multi-stakeholder alliance with a global network, ACOS fosters collaboration and dialogue to advance best practice and innovation around journalist safety issues and uses its convening capital to encourage the sharing of resources, expertise, ideas and innovations for the benefit of freelancers, local journalists and newsrooms.
The ACOS Annual Safety Coordination Meeting brings together its global community to advance dialogue and innovation around journalist safety and has been instrumental in developing successful collaborations and practical solutions to safety issues and challenges. The two-day format provides a level playing field for all contributions and voices from individual freelancers to senior news industry executives and NGOs. As such it is a unique event.
Our annual Safety Mapping Project is helping press freedom NGO’s gain a more detailed understanding of the global safety training landscape, identifying gaps and facilitating greater collaboration.
The kidnapping and brutal murders of freelance journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff in Syria in summer 2014 led to the creation of the ACOS Alliance.
In September 2014, a group of news editors held private meetings in New York and Chicago to discuss how they should respond to the killing of James and Steven and how to better protect and promote the safety of freelance journalists - many of whom were working without any official safety net.
During the following months, a volunteer committee made up of representatives of the Frontline Freelance Register, Reuters, The Associated Press, the Dart Center, GroundTruth Project and the Overseas Press Club drafted the Freelance Journalist Safety Principles, a document aimed at news organizations and freelancers alike which outlines a set of safety standards that both parties should undertake and expect as a standard work environment. The six organizations whose representatives drafted the principles became its first signatories.
Soon after, with the additional support of organisations, including the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Frontline Freelance Register, the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation, Reporters without Borders and the Rory Peck Trust, the ACOS Alliance was created to help news organisations, editors and freelance and local journalists globally implement the Freelance Journalist Safety Principles and embed a culture of safety within their everyday working practices.
Today more than 150 organizations are signatories to the ACOS Alliance and the Freelance Journalist Safety Principles.